Slap. Slap.

“No, NO!”

Slap. Slap. Slap.

“BAD baby!”

Confused, my young friend left her laundry and rushed down the hall to her daughter’s room, where the mischievous child was supposed to be taking a nap.

Wearing only a diaper, the toddler sat in the middle of the floor surrounded by dolls in a state of undress similar to hers.

Curious, my friend watched from the hall as her girl picked the dolls up one by one, spanked them, scolded them, and threw them back over her shoulder into her own crib.

“What are you doing?” my friend asked, trying not to giggle.

Without missing a beat, her wide-eyed daughter spanked and tossed another baby.  “I playing ‘Mommy.’”

My friend’s smile wilted.  Her heart sank.  Surely this wasn’t how her daughter saw her, how other people saw her!

As she put her precious baby back to bed and tucked the dolls into their basket, my friend sighed and took stock, spirit heavy.  She was a good mom, wasn’t she? Patient. Gentle. Soft-spoken. Strict, maybe, but not mean, not in the least. She was kind. Loving. Self-controlled.

So why this display by her daughter?  Thankfully, no one else had witnessed it.

Listen, as great a mom as my friend was and continues to be, God is an even better Father.  Gracious. Merciful. Kind. Patient. Compassionate. Loving. Just.

And yet, some of His children insist on treating one another and other people badly. Some even do so in His name!

My friends—oh, my friends—this simply should not be!

If you belong to God—that is if you have put your faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection for salvation from the consequences of your sin by surrendering your life to Him—you are His representative to the world, the means by which He has chosen to make the Gospel known for His ultimate glory (2 Cor. 5:17-20). What you do and don’t do matters. When you love others well and lift them up, you paint an accurate picture of who God is; when you abuse and misuse them, you defame His character.

There’s no getting away from it.

Salvation is an unearned blessing, to be sure, but it carries with it huge responsibility. Like it or not, all of us who claim the blood of Jesus are daily playing ‘Daddy.’

I beg you to be careful! The entire world is watching.